MANCHESTER — Hitting with runners in scoring position isn’t an area of strength this season for the Fisher Cats.
But they executed in their last at-bat on Sunday at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, and it resulted in a 6-5 win that prevented a four-game sweep by the Portland Sea Dogs.
John Tolisano ripped his fourth hit, a pulled single through the second-base hole with two outs in the 10th inning. Kenen Bailli scored from second as teammates stormed the diamond to mob the game’s hero.
“That’s definitely going to bring the spirits up. It’s been kind of a grind, a little bit, lately,” said Tolisano, whose team snapped a four-game skid and improved to 3-10 since returning from the All-Star break.
Bailli stood standing up. But he was close to being cut down.
Portland catcher Dan Butler failed to handle a pinpoint throw from right-fielder Bryce Brentz. The ball arrived well ahead of Bailli, though Butler wasn’t charged with an error.
“We did need it,” Fishers manager Sal Fasano said of the win. “It was nice to have a come-from-behind victory. It’s nice to do what we did today. I wish we would do it more.”
Before Tolisano’s game-winner, the Fishers (39-63) squandered a golden scoring opportunity in the ninth. Tolisano led off with a double and advanced on Jake Marisnick’s sacrifice bunt.
Reliever Ryan Pressly escaped the one-out jam. He induced a bases-loaded groundout from Glenn that prompted many of the 6,945 fans to head for the exits.
“I think we had three situations with a guy on third base and we didn’t execute,” Fasano said. “So, to come up big (in the 10th) with two outs was huge.”
The Fishers were 6-for-17 with runners at second or third. Four of those key hits came in the second inning.
Bailli, Sean Ochinko, Brian Bocock and Tolisano (4-for-6, two RBIs) all had hits with runners in scoring position. Mike McDade and Brad Glenn started the offense’s six-hit frame.
The five-run outburst erased a 3-0 deficit.
Jeremy Hazelbaker (four stolen bases) and Marquez Smith, hitting second and third in Portland’s lineup, tagged hard-throwing John Stilson for back-to-back solo homers.
Hazelbaker crushed a mid-90s fastball to straightaway center field. Smith followed with a rainmaker that cleared the left-field wall.
Jackie Bradley Jr.’s second-inning RBI single pushed Portland’s lead to three runs.
After losing the lead, the Sea Dogs (45-57) quickly forced a 5-5 tie in the third. Brentz delivered a third-inning RBI double and scored on a wild pitch.
Scoreless play ensued. Tolisano’s last at-bat ended the 3-hour, 34-minute contest.
“We’re trying to keep the intensity level up,” Tolisano said. “We can build off that, and take it on the road with us.”